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PRIVATE BROWN
by
Alec Kendal and Herbert Townsend ( 1941 )

When you talk of your heroes and such like,
Have you ever heard tell of "Jim Brown?"
He was known in the words of the classics
As the toughest tough guy in the town.
Dirty Dick and Dick Turpin were big shots,
Sweeney Todd, you've heard all about him;
But I reckon them Sunday School teachers
When you put them alongside of Jim.
He was called all the names you could think of,
I could mention a few if I chose;
Names a chap wouldn't call his own missus,
And you can't think of much worse than those.
He was one mass of swank, brawn and muscle,
In his boots he stood round six foot one;
I don't know what he stood with socks off
'Cos he never had any socks on.
His one pal was his own blessed shadow;
It stuck to him all round the town,
But sometimes even that doublecrossed him,
When the sun disappeared and went down.
There was only one thing in his favour,
And I'd give him a medal for that;
No one ever saw Jim strike a lady
Never once, without raising his hat.
When the war came and things went all khaki
All the boys had joined up barring him;
Then the finger of scorn began pointing,
And he fair got the wind up, did Jim.
Then a letter came for him one morning,
But Anonymous it had been sent;
And inside was a tiny white feather,
He had no need to ask what that meant.
From then no one seems to have seen him,
Jim had vanished clean into thin air;
Half the folks never knew where he'd blown to;
And the other half didn't much care.
There were all kinds of rumours about him,
And I heard a few rude remarks too;
Till someone said "P'raps he's enlisted."
That's the last thing they thought he would do.
But sometimes truth is stranger than fiction;
I was reading the war news one day,
And right there, 'mongst the missing I noticed
A Jim Brown had been killed in the fray.
There was nothing to say how it happened;
Just the usual few lines that's all,
Saying Jim had gone out like a hero
And had answered the last bugle call.
There's a grave in No-man's land somewhere;
Where red poppies are growing all round,
And Jim Brown is the name that's inscribed there
On a wooden cross stuck in the ground.
In my eyes Jim was never an angel;
And he never intended to be,
But if angels wear wings up in heaven,
He'll be wearing a pair I can see.
And whatever he was, there is one thing;
Yes! in histr'y his name'll go down,
There'll be clicking of heels and saluting
When they mention the name... "PRIVATE BROWN".

 
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